Leg strengthening exercises are important for maintaining health and preventing injury. These 8 effective leg strengthening exercises will help senior citizens maintain their fitness levels.
An often overlooked area of fitness for seniors is the importance of leg strengthening exercises. The fact is, the majority of falls for senior citizens are due to a trip or unsteady step while reaching for something at the top of the stairs or down the stairs. Therefore, it is imperative to make sure that seniors are maintaining their overall fitness levels by including at least one leg strengthening exercise into their routine. This will help protect against potential injury while maintaining adequate mobility.
Keep in mind that these are just effective leg strengthening exercises for seniors. And, while these are challenging for many people, keep in mind that the body adapts to exercise very quickly so start slow and increase your intensity level gradually. Remember, you can always pick up your pace if needed because you want to avoid the risk of injury while maintaining proper form.
This post will focus on 8 effective leg strengthening exercises that can be done at home for seniors. The exercises should be done in the order listed to maximize results.
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Benefits of Having Strong Legs
Aging gracefully does not have to mean the loss of mobility. Seniors can maintain their mobility by taking time for leg strengthening exercises. Here are a few advantages of leg strengthening exercises for seniors:
A strong lower body increases balance reduces the risk of falls, increases mobility, improves overall fitness, and boosts the immune system. Exercise is the best prevention and treatment of lower body and joint pain and arthritis. For seniors, regular exercise can reduce or eliminate the need for insulin and medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
Furthermore, one of the major benefits of having strong legs is that it helps prevent the risk of osteoporosis. Scientific research has shown that strength training in the lower extremities can decrease the risk of osteoporosis by as much as 50% so it is imperative to include a few leg strengthening exercises into your routine if you have been diagnosed with this condition.
Tip: Staying active is the best way to avoid osteoporosis. The healthier you are, the stronger your bones will become. Also, if you are an athlete or involved in some kind of high-impact activity, then you should also be doing leg strengthening exercises.
8 Leg Strengthening Exercises for Seniors
The exercises listed below are effective leg strengthening exercises for seniors because they target many different muscle groups in the lower body at the same time to help improve overall balance.
Sit and stands
Sit-ups are one of the most basic exercises for seniors. It helps strengthen your muscles in the back and abdominal area.
To begin, get on your hands and knees. Make sure that your hands are shoulder-width apart and that you’re in line with the rest of your body. Slowly draw yourself into a sitting position while maintaining the same posture as before. Do not let your back sag at any time while you’re doing the exercise. Once in a sitting position carefully return to starting position.
This is another popular exercise for seniors to strengthen their legs. You can do this exercise anytime you are sitting on a chair, dining chair, bench or even in your car.
While seated, place one foot on the floor while the other is lifted and right by the butt. Bend the knee of your lifted leg and raise it up until it almost touches your elbow. Hold for a few seconds before returning to starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
Half squats are a very comfortable way to work out your butt, hamstrings, and quadriceps. This is a simple exercise that you can do at home.
To perform the exercise, stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Then bend only one knee until the upper part of your leg is parallel to the floor. Your feet should not move or touch each other at any time during this exercise. Slowly return to starting position and repeat with the other leg.
This exercise is another excellent leg strengthening exercises for seniors. It strengthens the quadriceps and hamstrings.
To perform this exercise, sit down on a chair and keep your left foot on the floor and right leg raised so that it is 90-degrees to your body with your ankle flexed. Then, raise your right leg until it is parallel to the floor without moving your upper body. You can hold a weight in your left hand for additional resistance. Hold for a few seconds and then slowly return to starting position. Do not allow your back to move while you are performing this exercise. Repeat with the other leg.
This is another good leg strengthening exercise for seniors. It provides you with a great leg workout, strengthens your core, and helps you to lose weight.
To perform this exercise, stand on your toes with your knees straight for about 20-30 seconds, breathing normally. Then slowly lower the heels to the ground. Repeat until you reach the maximum number of repetitions or time duration. Keep your knees straight throughout the exercise.
This exercise allows you to target your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. It is one of the best leg strengthening exercises for seniors.
Stand with your hands on your hips. Now take a step forward with your left leg while keeping the right leg standing on the ground. Bend both knees but keep them in line with one another. Repeat with other legs to complete one repetition. Make sure that you step forward far enough such that you feel a medium level of intensity in your glutes and thighs before returning to the standing position. Make sure that you keep your back straight at all times. You can also do this exercise with weights to increase the intensity.
This is a gentle way of toning up your ankles. It also helps strengthen your feet and provides a good range of motion for them.
To do the exercise, sit on a yoga mat and keep your legs out in front of you. Now, make circles with your foot by pointing the toes down and then to the front, side, and back. Remember you moving only at your ankle while doing this exercise. Repeat for each foot several times every day.
This is one of the best leg strengthening exercises for seniors. It allows you to target your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
To perform the exercise, get on your hands on a chair to help keep the balance. Place one end of the loop under your left foot so that you are standing on the exercise. Then lift your right leg behind you until it touches the opposite side of your body just below your butt cheek. Keep your knees together and do not let them move forward. Slowly return to starting position. Repeat with the other legs.
These are effective leg strengthening exercises for seniors. Working on these leg strengthening exercises for seniors will help you to lose the weight and increase the muscles in your legs. This is the best way to lose your weight and make your body fit and smart. Also, consult with your doctor before starting these exercises.
Will Leg Strengthening Exercises Help Me?
Yes! Leg strength is important for balance, mobility, and to avoid falls. Especially for seniors who are at increased risk of falls.
How Often Should I Do These Exercises?
It’s best to do these exercises two times per day as part of a regular exercise routine. Try doing them with your morning and evening routines, or with just one routine right before bedtime each day.
How Long Should I Do The Exercises For?
You should do these exercises for about 15-20 minutes each day, unless otherwise directed by you physician. If you have any pain, be sure to stop the exercise and rest until your pain goes away.
How Many Reps Should I Do?
You should do 3 sets of 10-15 reps. If you want to be extra careful with your joints, try to do up to 15 reps per set.
How Should I Move My Legs?
If you’re doing the exercises with a partner, the person who is helping you should guide you through the moves and help you reach your target muscle. You can also do these exercises without a partner, either by yourself or with a book on one leg and a chair that allows you to balance on as needed. You can find the full instructions below in the exercises. If you’re doing the leg exercises by yourself, then it’s best to use a mirror or video tape to see your progress.
When Am I Done With My Exercises?
Check your leg strength after 1 week of doing the exercises with no rest! You can definitely notice difference in muscle strength after about a week of doing the exercises, but you need at least 2 weeks to see real change in your balance and mobility!
What Should I Do If I Feel Pain?
If you feel any pain in your joints or muscles during this routine, stop and rest until the pain goes away. If the pain doesn’t go away, you should stop the routine and work with your physician or physical therapist for more guidance. You may need to do these exercises slowly, only with light weight, or only on one leg instead of two. Depending on your specific health needs, you may also need to work with a physical therapist to help with your coordination and balance issues.